Optimize Sales with Marketing Automation

According to Forrester Research, one in five B2B organizations are planning to implement marketing automation in 2012, and a similar number are expanding their usage.

Many marketers are facing increasing pressure by senior management to demonstrate marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline and are turning to more comprehensive marketing automation solutions.

Forrester Research also reports that some companies believe their sales force automation (CRM) initiatives have maxed out and are seeking additional value by integrating them with marketing automation. Marketers can achieve better lead management and nurturing capabilities, along with improvements in the marketing-to-sales funnel process.

Some additional benefits of marketing automation include:

  • More qualified sales-ready leads
  • Faster sales velocity (close deals faster)
  • Better marketing and sales alignment
  • Maximizing Marketing ROI
  • A metrics oriented culture
  • Better insight into campaigns and budgets
  • Flexibility to adjust marketing plans as needed

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May I Have your Permission

After my last post on email marketing, I thought it would be fitting to write about one of the most important words in marketing called “permission.” Marketers who conform to permission marketing stay focused on the customer and relationship building—the yellow brick road for generating customers for life.

The production of high value content is key and goes hand in hand with  respect for a customer’s time. There has to be a good reason for someone agreeing to receive a vendor’s communications on an ongoing basis.

Savvy marketers always seek permission.  Customers who grant permission are more likely to be an appropriate target for tailored offers and messaging; often sent via email and in the form of an e-newsletter.

There are many reasons to embrace email marketing—it’s cost effective, measurable, and provides a great return on investment. According to email marketing software firm Exact Target, 42% of subscribers are more likely to buy from a company after subscribing to their emails.

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10 Reasons Why Email Marketing Still Delivers

I’m a social media enthusiast, yet recognize, the number one communications tool today is email.  The Pew Research Center says that 9 out of 10 Internet users send or read email every day.  A number of sources report that social media usage ranks fairly well in the 60% range for the general online adult population, and even higher (of course) in the under 40 demographic. Only search, according to Pew Research, has around the same adoption rate as email in the 90% range. We love to “Google” don’t we?

Business marketers are also embracing email—from newsletters and  transactional emails to direct emails and sponsorship emails. In fact, the CMO Council recently reported that a majority of marketers worldwide (67%) rated email as the most successful digital marketing tactic.

Email is indeed one of the most important tools in the marketer’s toolkit, but it still needs to be complemented with search, social media, and content marketing.  An integrated multichannel campaign generates superior results and is a foundation for creating thought leadership status—essential for building brand and differentiation.

What are email marketers focused on this year?  According to a survey by services provider StrongMail, the top marketing initiative is subscriber engagement at 48% followed by improving segmentation and targeting (44%) and growing opt-in email lists (32%).

Read my list of 10 reasons why email marketing still delivers: Continue reading